When Hideo Kojima wrapped up development on Metal Gear Solid 5, his next project was meant to be Silent Hills, an ambitious reboot of Konami's survival-horror game franchise that was being developed in collaboration with award-winning film director Guillermo del Toro. Unfortunately, Konami canceled Silent Hills, and eventually Kojima parted ways with the company, leaving nothing but the Silent Hills demo PT as a clue of what fans could have expected from the game.
Horror game fans were understandably upset to learn that Silent Hills was canceled, but then Konami rubbed salt in the wounds when it removed PT from the PlayStation Store. On the bright side, PT's popularity inspired a number of copycat games, so despite not even releasing the final product, Kojima's Silent Hills still left a mark on the industry.
Unable to continue his work on Silent Hills, Kojima started an independent version of Kojima Productions and set to work on a brand new IP that would become Death Stranding. Kojima hyped the game for years with bizarre, cryptic teasers, and while the game certainly has horror elements, it's far from the pure horror that fans were expecting from Silent Hills. Even so, there is some of PT's DNA in Death Stranding, with certain parts of the game appearing to directly reference Silent Hills and its demise.
Before we can get into those references, please note that this post will have MAJOR SPOILERS for Death Stranding, especially the ending of the game. This will also contain spoilers for PT as well.
In PT, players are tormented by a ghostly woman named Lisa as they move through a hellish, endlessly looping corridor. As players continue moving through the loop, they learn some details about Lisa and her tragic fate. It's implied through the information players collect in PT that a pregnant Lisa was murdered by her husband when he shot her in the eye and the stomach. Eventually, players are able to get away from Lisa and escape into the outside world, though more horrific things likely await them there.
As it so happens, Death Stranding has a character named Lisa. Lisa is the wife of Mads Mikkelsen's character Clifford Unger, who is a US special forces agent. Like the Lisa in PT, Lisa in Death Stranding was pregnant, and like Lisa in PT, Death Stranding's Lisa also suffers an unfortunate fate. Death Stranding's Lisa is in an accident prior to the events of the game, rendering her brain-dead. Lisa is kept on life support while her baby is put into the Bridge Baby program.
Out of all the female names Kojima could have chosen for Unger's wife, it's telling that he selected Lisa. The parallels between the two further solidify the likelihood that Lisa in Death Stranding is meant to represent or reference Lisa from PT.
Another possible connection between Death Stranding and PT comes in the form of the Bridge Baby Lou and Bridge Babies in general. In PT, players can discover a mutilated fetus in the bathroom sink, likely the baby that Lisa was carrying before her husband shot her. In Death Stranding, players carry around a baby named Lou that helps them detect BTs and other threats. It's not likely a coincidence that Kojima decided to use fetuses in both games.
Death Stranding's Ending
In the Death Stranding ending, Clifford Unger kills his wife Lisa and attempts to smuggle their baby out of the Bridges laboratory where he was being held. This entire sequence could be interpreted as an allegory for Kojima trying to leave Konami with his "baby," aka Silent Hills. Instead both the baby and Lisa are killed (mirroring the cancelation of Silent Hills). But then the baby is reborn as Sam, which could be a metaphor for Kojima's canceled project being reborn as Death Stranding.
Norman Reedus, Guillermo del Toro, and Junji Ito
While some of the possible nods to PT and Silent Hills in Death Stranding require players to look a bit deeper into the game's plot than they would have otherwise, there are some more obvious connections between the projects that should be pointed out. First and foremost, Norman Reedus is the protagonist of both Silent Hills and Death Stranding. Guillermo del Toro, who was attached to Silent Hills in a creative capacity, allowed his likeness to be scanned-in to Death Stranding so that another actor could portray his character of Deadman.
And finally, horror manga artist Junji Ito was also involved in both projects. The extent of Ito's involvement in Silent Hills isn't entirely known, though he does make a cameo in Death Stranding as one of the preppers that players can visit in the game.
Since Death Stranding is full of easter eggs, it's possible that there are even more connections to Silent Hills and PT hiding in its open world that are waiting to be discovered by players. Considering this, it wouldn't be surprising for even more connections to come to light in the future.
Death Stranding is out now for PS4 with a PC release to come in the summer of 2020.
NEXT: Death Stranding Review